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house had been full and free it might have been so, but the council’s assuming a power to approve or disapprove of the members after they were returned ; their forbidding them to debate the fundamentals of the new government, and obliging them to sign a recognition of it before they entered the house, looks like a force, or taking the election out of their hands. But lame and imperfect as the protector’s title may seem, it was as good as that of the Roman emperors, or the original claims of many of the royal houses of Europe; and in the present disjointed state of the English nation, not only necessary, but it may be the best thing that could be done ; for if the protectorship had been set aside, there was hardly a man in the house who would have ventured to vote for the king; an absolute commonwealth could not have been supported, and therefore anarchy would inevitably have ensued.
This being the last settlement of government in the protector’s time, the reader will observe, that the four fundamental articles already mentioned, (viz.) (1.) That the government be in a single person and a parliament. (2.) That parliaments be not perpetual. (3.) The militia. And (4.) Liberty of conscience in matters of religion; were not suffered to be examined or altered, but were supposed as the basis upon which the new government was founded. That though Oliver's title to the government had the sanction and confirmation of the present parliament, it was derived originally from the choice of the council of officers, and was never suffered to be debated in the house afterwards—That the humble petition and advice approaches nearer the old legal constitution, by appointing two houses of parliament, and would most likely, in time, have been converted into it—That the regulations it makes in the constitution are for the most part reasonable—That the presbyterians were still left in possession of all the ecclesiastical revenues of the kingdom, though an open and free liberty was granted to all christians, except papists and prelatists, who were excluded for reasons of state; and the penal laws made against the latter were dropped, by the parliament’s not confirming them. Remarkable are the words of the lord commissioner Fiennes, at the opening of the second session of this parliament, in which he “warns
the houses of the rock on which many had split, which was a spirit of imposing upon men's consciences in things wherein God leaves them a latitude, and would have them free. The prelates and their adherents, nay, and their master and supporter, with all his posterity, have split upon it. The bloody rebels in Ireland, who would endure no religion but their own, have split upon it; and we doubt not but the prince of those satanical spirits will in due time split upon it, and be brought to the ground with his bloody inquisition. But as God is no repecter of persons, so he is no respecter of forms, but in what form soever the spirit of imposition appears, he would testify against it. If men, though otherwise good, will turn ceremony into substance, and make the kingdom of Christ consist in circumstances, in discipline and in forms; and if they carry their animosities to such an height, that if one says Sibboleth, instead of Shibboleth, it shall be accounted ground enough to cut his throat: if they shall account such devils, or the seed of the serpent, that are not within such a circle or of such an opinion, in vain dothey protest against the persecution of God’s people, when they make the definition of God's people so narrow, that their persecution is as broad as any other, and usually more fierce, because edged with a sharp temper of spirit. Blessed therefore be God, who in mercy to us and them, has placed the power in such hands as make it their business to preserve peace, and hinder men from biting and devouring one another. It is good to hold forth a public profession of the truth, but not so as to exclude those that cannot come up to it in all points, from the privilege that belongs to them as christians, much less from the privilege that belongs to them as men.”* His highness having now a more parliamentary title, it was thought proper that he should have a more solemn inauguration, which was accordingly appointed to be celebrated on June 26. in Westminster-hall, which was adorned and beautified for this purpose as for a coronation. At the upper end there was an ascent of two degrees covered with carpets, in the midst of which there was a rich canopy, and under it a chair of state. Before the canopy
there was a table and chair for the speaker,” and on each side seats for the members of parliament, for the judges, for the lord-mayor and aldermen of London. The protector was conducted from the house of lords with all the state and grandeur of a king, and being seated under the canopy of state, the speaker of the parliament, the earl of Warwick, and commissioner Whitlocke, vested him with a purple velvet robe lined with ermine : they delivered into one of his hands a bible richly gilt, and embossed with gold; and into the other a sceptre of massy gold; and, lastly, they girt him with a rich sword ; after this they administered an oatia to the protector, to govern according to law. The solemnity concluded with a short prayer pronounced by Dr. .Manton ; and then the herald having proclaimed his highness’s titles, the people shouted with loud acclamations, Long live the lord protector &c. and the day concluded with feastings, and all other kinds of public rejoicing. The protector, having waded through all these difficulties to the supreme government of these nations, appeared on a sudden like a comet or blazing star,t raised up by providenee to exalt this nation to a distinguished pitch of glory, and to strike terror into the rest of Europe. His management for the little time he survived, was the admiration of all mankind ; for though he would never suffer his title to the supreme government to be disputed, yet his greatest enemies have confessed, that in all other cases distributive justice was restored to its ancient splendor. The judges executed their duty according to equity, without partiality or bribery; the laws had their full and free course without impediment or delay ; men’s manners were wonderfully reformed, and the protector's court kept under an exact discipline. Trade flourished, and the arts of peace were cultivated throughout the whole nation; the public money was managed with frugality, and to the best advantage; the army and navy were well paid, and served accordingly. As the protecor proceeded with great steadiness and resolution against the enemies of his government, he was no less generous and bountiful to those of all parties who submitted to it; for as he would not declare himself of any particular sect, he gave out, that it was his only wish that all would gather into one sheepfold, underome shepherd, Jesus Christ, and love one another. He respected the clergy in their places, but confined them to their spiritual function. Nor was he jealous of any who did not meddle in politics, and endeavor to raise disturbances in the state : even the prejudice he had against the episcopal party,(says bishop Rennet) was more for their being royalists, than being of the church of England. But when one party of the clergy began to lift up their heads above their brethren, or to act out of their sphere, he always found means to take them down. He had a watchful eye over the royalists and republicans, who were always plotting against his person and government; but his erecting a house of lords, or upper house, so quickly after his instalment, roused the malecontents, and had like to have subverted his government in its infancy. The protector was in high reputation abroad, and carried victory with his armies and navies wherever they appeared. There had been a negotiation with France concerning an alliance against Spain, begun at London 1655, but not concluded till March 13, 1657, by which the protector obliged himself to join six thousand men with the French army, and to furnish fifty men of war to conquer the maritime towns belonging to Spain in the Low Countries,on this condition, that Dunkirk and Mardyke should be put into his hands, and the family of the Stuarts depart the territories of France. That which determined him to join with France rather than Spain, was the numerous parties that were against him at home; for if the young king, assisted by France, should have made a descent upon England with an army of French protestants, it might have been of
* Dr. Grey gives at length the speech with which the speaker, lord Widdrington, addressed the protector. Ed. t Eachard, p. 74%. # Complete Hist. p. 223. § Dr. Grey controverts the truth of this representation of the happy state of things nuder Cromwell's government; though Mr. Neal quotes
Eachard and Kennet: whose authority Dr. Grey does not attempt to invalidate. He refers principally, to a speech of Cromwell, 25 Jan. 1657, complaining that the army was unpaid, and that Ireland and Seotland were suffering by poverty. For a review of the administration of Cromwell, the reader is referred to sor Harris' Life of Cromwell, p. 412-75; and Mrs. Macaulay's History of England, vol. 5, 8vo. p. 104, 203, who is by no means partial to the protector. Ed.
fatal consequence to his infant government; whereas the Spaniards were at a distance, and having no protestant subjects, were less to be feared. Upon the conclusion of this treaty, King Charles entered into an alliance with the Spaniards, who allowed him a small pension, and promised him the command of six thousand men, as soon as he was possessed of any sea-port in England. In consequence of this treaty, most of the royalists inlisted in the Spanish service. But the protector's six thousand men in Flanders behaved with undaunted bravery, and took St. Venant, Mardyke, and some other places from the Spaniards this summer.” Admiral Blake was no less successful at sea, for having received advice of the return of the Spanish West-India fleet,he sailed to the Canaries with twenty-five men of war, and on the 20th of April arrived at the Bay of Sancta Cruz, in the island of Teneriff, where the galleons, to the number of sixteen, richly laden, lay close under a strong castle, defended by seven forts mounted with cannon; the admiral, finding it impossible to make them prize, had the good fortune to burn and destroy them all, only with the loss of one ship, and one hundred and sixty men. When the news of this success arrived in England, a day of thanksgiving was appointed, and a rich present ordered the admiral upon his return; but this great sea-officer, having been three years at sea, died as he was entering Plymouth sound Aug. 47, in the sixty-seventh year of his age.t. He was of the ancient family of the Blakes, of Planchfield, Somersetshire, and was educated in Wadham college, Oxford. He was small of stature, but the bravest and boldest sailor that England ever bred, and consulted the honor of his country beyond all his predecessors. When some of his men being ashore at Malaga, refussed to do honor to the host as it passed by, one of the priests raised the mob upon them. Upon which Blake sent a trumpet to the viceroy to demand the priest, who saying he had no authority to deliver him up, the admiral answered, that if he did not send him aboard in three hours, he would burn the town about their ears ; apon which he came, and begged pardon : the admiral,
* Burnet, p. 73.